WARNING: This post will be extremely photo intensive (because, Harry Potter - duh).

how the magic happened in harry potter

Last winter when my family went over to London, I decided that visiting the Warner Brother's Harry Potter Studios was a fun activity for us all. 
As we made our way there that lovely afternoon (outfit diary here!) excitements were high. The night before, we watched as many HO movies as we could just to "prepare" for the excursion. Even mummy was excited. Mummy who doesn't know much about Harry Potter (ok she knows a fair bit because we made her watch some of the movies with us).
My sister, being the book-lover was throwing out spells from the 7 books she read through and through, and my brother and I were just entertaining her, whilst talking about our favourite HP scenes.

Harry Potter studios entrance images
harry potter's house under the staircase in the harry potter studios
Display of HP LED posters Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd

When we arrived we were greeted with huge posters of the Harry Potter Cast and an enormous Christmas Tree. Everyone waiting was bubbling with excitement as we queued up beside Harry's room under the staircase, snapping pictures as we passed by.
After we entered the premises, they played an introductory clip showing us lovely visuals from the different movies. Finally, the doors swung open and we came face to face with The Grand Hall. Oh my, you could hear the gasps.
It was as grand as it could be.

Grand hall in Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd Grand hall with professors in front of the hall
The table details of the grand hall in Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
The table set of the Grand hall and prefects attire in Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd

The Hall looked just like how it was in the movies, with food lined up at the table, figurines of Snape, Dumbledore, Mcgonagall and the other professors in the front of the room. At that moment, I know my family siblings would run free and explore the premises on their own and I wouldn't get to see them until I reached the exit.

Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd the knight bus in azkaban
Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
Huge chess pieces of Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd

So I went along with mummy and explained to her the importance of the different things on the table, and the different sets we saw.
From The weasely's house, to Hagrid's, gryffindor's common room, to Dumbledore's office, Umbridge whole lot of pink things and even the Knight Bus and Human sized chess pieces in Sorcerer's stone. The sets and props were so incredibly designed, the details in the different trinkets displayed around were just beyond believe. The amount of care and time put into making sure the sets are done up to that level of detail is unimaginable.
Eventually mummy decided she was more interested in things like how they shot the flying car scene, how the costumes were designed, and so I lost her after a while and went on exploring on my own.

Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
Chandelier in Gryffindor common room Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
wands and other props in Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
potion room Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
Dumbledore's office in Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
Ron weaseley's house Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
Hagrid's house Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd

Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd prizoner of askaban props

But when you're in the Harry Potter Studios, you don't ever feel alone. You don't realize you're alone, because everything is so fascinating.
After passing by the huge room with the different sets and displays, I arrived at the creature shop. Creatures. You have no idea how much effort and detail goes into creating them. I always thought they were done digitally, with some avatar, CGI, computerised stuff. But when you see the individual creatures up close, wow. You will be amazed at the HP Production team. Props to the for being able to make alive the creatures in JK Rowling's imagination.
Everyone else was just so fascinated by the figure of Dobby, Hagrid, the mermaids in the Tri-wizard tournament etc.

How they made harry potter creatures come to live
Faces and heads of creatures at Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd

Exiting the creature shop, I turned a corner, and then stumbled into what seemed like the most magical set. It was my FAVOURITE part of the whole tour. Diagon Alley.
The lights were changing, and music from the HP Movies were playing over the speakers as people walk along part of the set of Diagon Alley. You literally feel like you're there, and that Harry, Hermoine, or Ron could just pass by you any minute. The wand shop, the owl shop, everything looked so real. I felt as though I was on set, in the film.

on the set of Diagon alley in Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
Diagon alley in Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd diagon alley

If you've read my blog for a while, you'll probably be able to guess that I'm quite into architecture. I love the whole idea of visualising something and designing or building it. So when I walked straight into the brain of the HP set designers (or what felt like it) it was just incredible. The mini models and interiors of each set were built in so much detail, so meticulously pieced together, I was going "WOW!" the entire time in my head.

set model of Harry Potter Studios, EngalndHarry Potter Studios, Engalnd interior model of dumbledore's studio

The ACTUAL wow though, came when I saw a HUGE model of Hogwarts towards the end of the tour. It was like magic in its own way. I just stopped and stared in admiration at the model. How I wished the real school of Hogwarts existed!!

Before leaving the premises of the tour, visitors entered the wand shop. THE INCREDIBLE WAND SHOP. The names on each boxes were different. The colours of the boxes were vibrant. The room was an actual shop size. I wouldn't even begin to be able to imagine this in real life. It was the best way to end the tour! Mummy was so impressed she spent much time taking photos and reading names in the room. Ending off at the wand room, and then going into the harry potter shop just makes you wanna buy every single wand. But of course... Wands aren't cheap. My sister and brother bought one each anyway, and mummy was so enthusiastic she insisted I got one too. Instead of getting a wand, I got a buttload of goodies. Which was way more exciting for me! I mean... Harry potter Candy!!! Chocolate frogs! How cool!

Wand shop of Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd
Harry Potter Studios, Engalnd. The wand shop details
Souvenir shop of Harry Potter Studios, and wands

The Harry Potter Studios is available for a visit through out the year, which is perfect. People living in the UK or London, should find some time to get down, especially if they're harry potter fans! I foresee this being one of my favourite memories with my stay in UK. No Regrets. Never.

Harry Potter Studios - How the Magic Happened!

20 August 2015 Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Watford, Leavesden, Hertfordshire WD25 7LR, UK

Clouds and reflection in the water in cornwall

Cornwall... Oh Cornwall. From my past few posts, you can probably tell how much I enjoyed my time in this corner of England.
Even though I spent a short 4 days in West Cornwall, I managed to see most of the region. Who knew England has such beautiful sights :) 
Also, huge thank you to Sarah from The Salty Sea Blog for giving me so many recommendations! I adore Sarah's blog posts, not to mention, her photos are stunning! The way she writes about her Cornish life is so appealing. Head on over to check her out! 

Anyway, here are 5 facts I discovered during my short time in Cornwall. Some totally unexpected!!

OOTD walking along the southwest coastal path in falmouth

1. They have the quirkiest names for places.
Remember Mousehole? Or Woodlane? It's not just names of cool places but they also have houses with their own names!
Corner house, The Seaside House, Sally's House. Oh, how adorable! Imagine if I had a house called Carina's house at the end of the street. Haha that'd be cool, wouldn't it? Or if I painted my house purple and named it "That Purple House". I guess I could do that to be honest. It's probably seen as some kind of a decoration instead of an actual address.

5 fun facts of conrwall. Image of mini boats at a harbour

2. Things along the coast (individual towns) are lively and bustling. But in between its just farms and large plots of grass.
By plots of grass I don't mean like weird patchy sad green plots. More like massive amount of green land/open fields with cows and horses etc.
When we were on the bus driving around from town to town, we passed by so many winding roads, large fields of grass, farms, animals, and probably 2 houses.
I think the region of west cornwall is such that most of the people stay within the town centres and the farmers would live slightly outside of the main town area.
It must be so hard to get to the actual town centre though. But I guess driving isn't a problem in Cornwall since its not as densely populated.

5 Fun facts of cornwall - yellow flowers bloomed on green fields as we drive across town to town

3. Buses don't stop at all bus stops
Oh, and sometimes they stop in the middle of the route to pick passengers up - we were one of them passengers.
See! The bus drivers in Cornwall are nice and kind. Road rage? What road rage? London and singaporean drivers can learn! Maybe it's because both london and singapore have pretty extensive bus services, the bus stops are so equipped, I've never experienced such a situation where there is a bus stop, but no busses ever stop there.
My friend and I were waiting at a bus stop right outside our hostel, but turns out, even though the signboard said there was the specific bus service we wanted, that bus didn't stop there!
Fortunately, the bus driver realised that we were 2 confused asian tourists, and stopped midway of the street and allowed up to board the bus. Apparently, we weren't the only confused ones.
In order to know which stops the buses stop at, we had to check another timetable. Not all bus stops are in service, some of them don't have ANY buses going to it. Glad we found out early!

View of penzance from the rocks and the sea in cornwall

4. The coastal paths, however, are AWESOME. You'll never get lost or confused following it.
This was probably the most surprising discovery for me. I was so impressed by how EASY it was to just follow the route. Firstly, there are sign boards everywhere along the coastal path, and if there aren't, you just gotta walk along the marked out path way/sandy route and you'll arrive it's great! Plus the scenery is always AMAZING. What's not to love? Walking has officially trumped taking the bus.

Greenery along the southwest coastal path in cornwall england
View of green fields and houses from the sennen cove beach

5. Smell of something everytime the wind blows
From horse/cow manor, to flowers, to the smell of the sea. I love that the winds in Cornwall are so strong that they carry all kinds of scent with them. Distinct ones might I add.
Remember how I talked about smelling the scent of real roses for the first time in my previous post?
When we were walking along the SW Coastal Path, we could smell all the wild flowers that were growing along the path way. It was so cool! I've never experienced anything like this; y'know, smelling flowers. I know how sea breeze smells like so that was a familiar scent, but i've always thought people were bullshitting when they wrote about how the wild flowers smelled like in books.
NO, Carina, THEY WERE NOT. It is indeed very very real. Lucky people of Cornwall! Especially in the spring/summer time when the flowers are all in full bloom! This experience will probably be etched in my memory for a long time.
(Yes, you can tell how much I love flowers. Don't judge.)

Beautiful blue skies and clear waters in penzance, cornwall, england

To be honest, I could have made this a 6 fun fact with number 6 being: There were no Asians, apart from my friend and I. But on my last night a whole bunch of Chinese tourists came into the hostel. And we did see another small group of asian students. So, that fact is no longer true.
It could probably be because my friend and I went to Cornwall early in the summer before the crowds arrived? Or that Cornwall is just too far for most tourists coming into England. I think Cornwall is a pretty brilliant place to visit, and more people should know about it.
I could have easily spent another week or 2 exploring the other regions (south, north/east) of Cornwall. Guess i'll have to go back again some day!

5 Fun Facts: Cornwall

6 August 2015 Cornwall, UK

Flags, boats and harbour of falmouth cornwall, england

For the most part of my Cornwall Trip, I spent a lot of time along the coast, admiring the English landscape, visiting beaches, bays, and basically enjoying the wonders of nature. So, on the last full day we had in Cornwall, we decided to have a change in scenery and visit another town a few hours from Penzance called Falmouth.

Falmouth was a 2 hour bus ride from Penzance, and we headed off bright and early in the morning so as to make the most of our day.

A couple watching the boats at the harbour of falmouth cornwall, england.
Boats floating along the water of the harbour in falmouth, cornwall, england.

After arriving at Falmouth, we realised that shops weren't fully opened. The people at the tourist information were extremely helpful and they suggested we take a walk towards the castle and perhaps visit a garden.

Having only 1 day in Falmouth meant that we weren't able to explore too far out of the main town area, so we walked through the main market streets, popped in to a couple of cute local boutique stalls, and then headed along the perimeter of the town by the coast once again.

Colourful unique architecture in cornwall
Quirky welcome signs in Falmouth, conrwall, England
Castle and greenery in Falmouth, conrwall, England
Image of SW Coastal path in Falmouth, conrwall, England
Scenery in cornwall in the summer  Falmouth, conrwall, England
Looking out at the sea in  Falmouth, conrwall, England

Remember when I said we walked along the South West Coastal path whenever we could in my previous post? Yeap, this was yet one of the other times we did. It's incredible how the coastal path just links up all the major towns in Cornwall!

We walked through the moat of the castle, but decided not to go into it because we were more distracted by the scenery, yet again. Instead, we climbed across some rocks, and went out to take more pictures of the lovely blue skies and waters.
The view from the castle drive was awesome. It was surprisingly quiet, although we weren't the only ones there for the view. A few cars were parked around the viewpoint with people sitting inside and staring out into the sea!

Brick buildings and houses in  Falmouth, conrwall, England
 Falmouth, conrwall, England outfit and brick buildings
What I Wore
Sweater: Cotton On
Jacket: Pull and Bear
Shorts: Thailand
Shoes: Converse
Necklace: Primark
stonehengs structure, ootd, and view of the sea in gyllyngdune gardens Falmouth, conrwall, England
OOTD and stonehenge structure Falmouth, conrwall, England

One of the reasons why we chose to go to Falmouth was because it was known for it's parks. Sadly, with only 1 day, we didn't have sufficient time to go out to one of the bigger gardens/parks, and had to settle for visiting the smaller gardens such as the Gyllyngdune Garden and the Princess Pavilion within the main area of Falmouth.

The gardens were unlike many others that i've visited. The Gyllyngdune Garden was much smaller, more organic, had interesting stained glassed huts, and a Stonehenge like structure (oh and a wonderful view too since it was on elevated ground!)
What I found the most fascinating was that the roses in the park appeared to be grown au natural instead of being specially planted. Walking through the gardens, the smell of flowers was so strong, and distinct, I kept wondering if my nose was playing tricks on me. This was probably the first time I've ever smelt the scent of rose naturally (you know NOT from a perfume bottle)!

Gyllyngdune Gardens Falmouth, conrwall, England
Close up image of purple bell shaped flowers in Falmouth, conrwall, England
Princess pavilion in Falmouth, conrwall, England

We arrived at the Princess Pavilion and decided to grab some lunch after walking around for a whole morning. The pavilion was so well decorated and the interior, well furnished. It was sort of like a community centre where people could go over and take classes or watch a small play. The food served at the Café was surprisingly great  (I always expect crappy food in awkward out of the way places... Oops!)

After a good lunch, and some rest, we headed off towards Kimberly Park, another small park nearby to further satisfy our park visitation needs.
Kimberly Park was more of a neighbourhood park with lots of green grass; a place where people living in the area can have open air concerts or gatherings, nothing too fancy. We did however stumble upon an obstacle course made of wood and a log maze - which my rock climber friend, Clarice went on and conquered it easily!

Climbing the log maze in kimberly gardens Falmouth, conrwall, England
old black and white houses in Falmouth, conrwall, England
image of the woodlane street sign in falmouth cornwall, england.

Eventually, we headed back to the main streets of Falmouth for a nice cornish tea break. Of course, not before passing by some lovely victorian looking english houses and quirky streets. Woodlane. Isn't that just such an interesting street name? Cornwall is the best when it comes to naming things. I even saw a house that was called the Number 5 house or something!

Although we wanted some traditional Cornish clotted cream tea and scones, the café ran out as it was late afternoon and there were just so many people! Having Tea is THE THING to do in Cornwall.
Anyway, the friendly lady server suggested I try something called the Knickerbocker Glory.

Knickerbocker glory in falmouth, cornwall for tea

That was the first time i've ever heard of such a dessert. It's filed with jelly, berries, and topped with some ice-cream and biscuits sticks. Typically, I can never finish a dessert that size in one seating because of how sweet it usually is. But, the Knickerbocker glory was light and refreshing. The use of jelly made it less dense, and to be honest, who really cares about anything else when the dessert looks so pretty, right?

Needless to say, I gobbled down every last bit of it!

Falmouth Colourful flags and streets in cornwall, england.

I honestly wish we had more time in Cornwall to explore the different other towns and have more scones, cream teas, and cornish pasties.
Cornwall is definitely a place i'll recommend others to visit. It is so unlike any other place I've been to around Europe. People are friendly, incredibly nice, the pace of life is much slower, and everyone just seems happier and more relaxed (compared to London, it's a world of difference!! I still love London since I'm more of a city girl). There is something calming about the people and vibe of Cornwall, even in the main town area with all the shops, and cafés, it doesn't get too crowded of touristy. Basically, if I lived in Cornwall, I'd feel as though I'm perpetually on a summer break!

Outfit Diary: Exploring Falmouth - Cornwall, England

3 August 2015 Falmouth, Cornwall, UK

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